Author Archives: viviandarkbloom

Nicolas Provost; Gravity

Nicolas Provost is a belgian filmmaker most known for contemporary short films, however in his piece Gravity, he pays homage to Hitchcock and many other great directors in an overlay compilation of both American and European film’s best kissing sequences. Within this short, two to three kissing scenes are overlaid at a time, the scenes flash between the films to juxtapose the films and even contrast the eras however within the movements of the kisses there is a notable similarity of human interaction within such passionate moments. Provost pay special homage to Hitchcock kissing scenes in particular by including intimate embraces from films like Spellbound, North by Northwest, Notorious, To Catch a Thief and my personal favorite the whirling kiss from Vertigo. Among all the Hitchcock kiss sequences Provost depicts the juxtaposition and similarities through overlays of other famed embraces such as from The Thomas Crown Affair, It’s a Wonderful Life, From Here to Eternity, the beloved 80’s classic Dirty Dancing and of course the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s kiss in the pouring rain. There are other inclusions of foreign movies of course from the Belgian cinematographer, however theses were the movies I was able to pick out amongst the flashing cuts of film, If anyone can point out more I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 🙂

The original doesn’t include the goofy 90’s track in the background, but this was the only full version of the piece available on the internet.

Some of the iconic kisses overlaid:

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing (1987)

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

North by Northwest (1959)

Vertigo (1958)

Provost brilliantly captures the same intimate human movements among films varying in decades.

Rebecca

Rebecca

Rebecca, the 1940 Academy Award winning film, is most notably remembered as a commercial success among audiences, however was harshly critiqued by both critics and even Hitchcock. Hitchcock revealed in an interview with famed film critic Francois Truffaut, that he personally believed “Rebecca” lacked in true “Hitchcockian” themes and elements. This paper argues against this principle that Rebecca lacked flair from the Master of Suspense’s famed auteur brand. Critics argue that Rebecca is branded distinctly by Hollywood mogul David O. Selznick, as a big-screen Hollywood adaption of a beloved novel such as seen in Selznick’s Gone with the Wind. However, despite the combative relationship between Director Alfred Hitchcock and Executive Producer David O. Selznick, there are distinct “Hitchcockian” visual themes throughout the film Rebecca. The film contains many familiar visual motifs from previous British period movies, and utilizing Rebecca’s grandiose budget, Hitchcock was able to further experiment and expand on these visual themes for use in future films. These themes include but are not limited to driving scenes, characters descending staircases, shadows falling across faces, dark figures contrasted against light, and close up portraits of faces before a dramatic kiss. This paper however, argues beyond these well-known Hitchcock auteur visuals in the implications that even the psychosexual, feminist controversy surrounding Rebecca proves to be an underlying theme found in nearly all Hitchcock films. It is this surplus of similarities and themes found in Rebecca and all Hitchcock films, which constitutes the notion that Rebecca, although commercialized, is a true “Hitchcockian” masterpiece.

The New Number One Film: Vertigo

In the fall of 2012 The British Institute of Film rightly voted Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo to its number one spot within the Greats 50 films of all time, knocking Citizen Kane down to the number two slot after 50 years of reigning at number one.  Ranking films based on their “greatness” is a highly subjective matter, however, it is evident that Hitchcock’s Vertigo surely belongs to such a list based on its novel camera tracking shots, shocking story and ability to stand the test of time.  Vertigo compiles many cinematic and stylistic features which make it appealing to all types of audiences and film critics alike. These features include a melodramatic romantic plot but also a thrilling detective story sure to please any movie goer, however, it is the stylistic camera shots which truly define both these differentiating styles that perhaps make this film so captivating and influential. The whirling romance of the film is tangibly felt through passionate kisses, a mist, spinning cameras, and montage overlays. The decorative noir essence is portrayed through the suspense of following Madeline within Scottie’s point of view. The audience stylistically follows Madeline through Scottie’s car and into the beautiful city landscape of San Francisco.

Vertigo rightfully deserves its new number one standing as it is both stylistically classic and thrillingly entertaining. Vertigo is an influential film within the film industry. Its iconic staircase tracking shots, cityscape panoramas, and spinning camera kiss scenes will be studied and influential in the making of further films.

NationalFilmSociety.tumblr.com

PortableTV.com

Family Facade In “Shadow of a Doubt”

In the 1943 Hitchcock film, Shadow of a Doubt, there is an exceedingly disturbing family dynamic concealed within the Newton’s average American lifestyle. The Newton family masquerades as a typical family to neighbors and audiences alike until their beloved Uncle Charlie shows up to unsettle the listlessness of young Charlie’s unsatisfactorily average life.

Young Charlie and Uncle Charlie are the most prominent example of a perverse relationship and unsettling family dynamic. Hitchcock portrays an uncomfortable intimacy and borderline incestuous relationship between an uncle and niece in order to put audiences on edge. This intimacy is felt by the audience through the actions of Uncle Charlie and the way Young Charlie reciprocates them. Uncle Charlie is always quick to embrace and hold his niece, however as the movie progresses the audience seems to find Uncle Charlie’s embrace more sinister in his grip, and Young Charlie’s reactions more uncomfortably hesitant. Critics utilize Uncle Charlie’s presentation of an emerald ring to Young Charlie as Hitchcock’s most noticeable reference to an incestuous familial relationship, deeming it as an “unholy matrimony” between the characters.

Hopelies.com

Hopelies.com

Maudit.tumblr.com

The incestuous relationship between Uncle Charlie and Young Charlie is not all that plagues this family. Joe is a despondent father figure within the household and is utterly forgotten amongst Uncle Charlie. Emma is in a fragile mental state and dependent upon her brother’s support for the notion of his murderous actions would literally break her as a person and so she can not see her brother’s mentally ill and misogynistic nature, even after his rampantly sexist jeremiad at dinner one evening. Even the Newton’s youngest daughter Anne is a participant in this unusual family dynamic, as she is intelligent and satirical beyond her years yet virtually ignored. Hitchcock conceals all these unhealthy familial relationships under the facade of an average American family hidden within the four walls of a quaint house. “In Shadow of a Doubt , the family with its glow (its halo) may seem like a warm bath, but all to readily it becomes a swamp of frustrated yearnings, breeding demons of female emancipation whose ferocity it is barely able to contain. The representative american family in short is the true horror of the film.”

http://25.media.tumblr.com

McLaughlin, James. “All in the Family: Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt.” In A Hitchcock Reader, 145-155. Second ed. Blackwell Publishing, 2009.